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Keep Calm and Thank a Farmer


Have you thanked a farmer recently? 

It's National Famers Month, a month to honor the hardworking farmers that bring us our fresh produce all year round. National Farmer's Day is typically celebrated on October 12, although different cities and counties have their own version of Farmer's Day that are celebrated throughout the months of August to October, the peak season of harvest bounty. October was chosen as National Farmer Month, because traditionally, during this time of the year, the harvest would be mostly complete, and farmers could take a break from their labors to enjoy this celebration.

It dates back to the 1800s and was previously known as Old Farmer's Day. Some annual celebrations go as far as producing re-enactments of how farming was done a century ago. After all, even though agriculture and farming today is largely mechanized and scientific, these developments would not be possible without the wisdom and hard work of old farmers.

Farmer's markets are a critical piece of any local food system. They provide important market opportunities for farmers to sell their agricultural products, help sustain the livelihood of family farms, and rural communities. These events provide consumers with the opportunity to purchase some of the freshest, healthiest, quality fruits, vegetables, and value-added products including fresh-baked breads, fruit preserves, fresh honey, cheeses, milk, and other dairy products.

While we love summer's bounty of sweet berries and juicy watermelon, the autumnal season brings a variety of healthful and delicious produce, from squash and sweet potatoes to apples and pears.

While almost all produce can be grown anywhere year-round, they are picked before they're ripe then flash-frozen to be trucked across country (or flown across the world). Honestly, it's not easy nor environmentally friendly. Buying local seasonal produce, supporting local farming industries, purchasing from farmers markets and Community-Sustained-Agriculture (CSA) boxes are ways to help including: reducing our carbon footprint, helping our local economies and receiving more nutritious products.

What amazing superfoods should be hitting their peak this season?

Here are 10 products you should definitely buy from your local farmer this month. Oh, and don't forget to thank them!

1. Apples

Sweet or tart, apples are satisfying either raw or baked within a delicious recipe. Just be sure to eat the skin - it contains heart-healthy flavonoids. Full of antioxidants and containing 4 grams of dietary fiber serving.

2. Brussels Sprouts

Made the correct way, these veggies are divine. They have a mild, somewhat bitter taste, so combine them with tangy or savory flavors such as balsamic, vinegar or bacon. Half a cup of Brussels sprouts contains more than your minimum daily recommended intake of Vitamin K. It is also a very good source of folate and iron.

3. Parsnips

Although these root vegetables resemble carrots, they have a lighter color and have a sweeter, nuttier flavor. Use them to flavor rice and potatoes or puree them into soups and sauces. They are rich in potassium and are a good source of fiber.

4. Pears

These sweet and juicy fruits are a crowd-pleaser. Cooking can bring out their amazing flavor, especially baked and poached. They are a good source for vitamin C, copper and contain 4 grams of fiber per serving.

5. Rutabaga

Imagine if a turnip and a cabbage had a baby. The result is a rutabaga, which is popular Swedish veg. Their earthy flavor goes well in casseroles or pureed with turnips and carrots to make a sweet soup. They are a good source of fiber and vitamin C.

6. Cauliflower

This sweet and slightly nutty veg, is perfect for winter side dishes. Its great steamed, blended into a soup or as a rice substitute. They have compounds called phytonutrients that seem to help lower cholesterol. It is also an excellent source of vitamin C.

7. Squash

Unlike summer squash, winter squash has a fine texture and a slightly sweet flavor. It has a thick skin which allows it to be stored for a month - extending the fall bounty well into spring. It tastes best with warming spice like cinnamon, cloves or ginger.  They are an excellent source of vitamin A and contain omega-3 fatty acids.

8. Pumpkin

A type of winter, squash pumpkin that can be used for much more than just jack-'o-lanterns. Its sweet taste and moist texture make it ideal for pies, cakes, and pudding! They're rich in potassium and contain 20% more fiber than your recommended minimum daily intake as well as it's a good source of B vitamins.

9. Sweet Potatoes

These root vegetables are much more than Thanksgiving casseroles. More nutritionally dense than their white-potato cousins. Try roasting them to tasty delicious side and maintaining more vitamins than boiling. They're an excellent source of vitamin A, iron and have anti-inflammatory benefits.

10. Turnips

Tender and mild, these veggies are a great alternative to radishes and cabbage. To flavor these veggies, use fennel, bread crumbs, or even brown sugar. Turnips leaves, which taste like mustard leaves, are easy to cook and are nutritionally dense. They are a great source of Vitamin C, plus turnip leaves are an excellent source of vitamins A, K, and folate.

We here at QOL, will be enjoying our local farmers markets this weekend as well as saying hi to our favorite farmers!

We hope you do the same and take advantage of the bounty!

Have some farmers market recommendations? Comment on our blog below!

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